Top Wang Employees Vacation in Hawaii as Company Files Bankruptcy
LOWELL, Mass. (AP) _ While officials at Wang Laboratories Inc. filed for bankruptcy and planned to lay off 5,000 employees, the ailing high-tech firm paid for several hundred top employees to vacation in Hawaii.
The salesmen and women and their spouses are members of Wang’s ″Achievers″ club, who have beaten their annual sales quota in the company’s most recent fiscal year, The Sun of Lowell reported Thursday.
Wang officials confirmed that the Achievers trip is taking place during the same week the computer manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Officials said they were unable to provide many details about the trip.
They did say, however, that it was a justified expense.
″These are our top salespeople throughout the world. It’s essential we keep them motivated. They’ve earned the trip, it’s part of their compensation package,″ said company spokesman Ed Pignone.
The Sun quoted unnamed sources within and close to the company who said some members of the group have been on the Hawaiian island of Maui since as early as last week, and are not due to return until this weekend. The sources said 500 salespeople - plus spouses - are on the trip, at a cost to Wang Labs of millions of dollars, with one source saying it was as high as $7 million.
The Sun reported that the company is paying all transportation, food and lodging expenses, as well as some entertainment costs.
Pignone initially said he did not know how much the trip cost Wang, but later said he looked into the $7 million figure and found it was ″grossly exaggerated.″ He was unable to provide a more precise cost.
Pignone said that everyone on the trip was told Tuesday that Wang had filed for bankruptcy protection.
Pignone said that despite Wang’s financial problems, company officials proceeded with the trip because it was paid for ″months ago″ and ″all our money would have been lost″ had it been cancelled.
Last year’s Achievers trip was cancelled. Wang said at the time that construction at the hotel scheduled to host the group wasn’t completed and the company was unable to find another hotel to accomdate an estimated 1,200 guests. Those who qualified and remained with the company this year were allowed to attend this year’s trip.